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  • Writer's pictureDr. Neal Nybo

Micro-Action 2: Find an accountability partner

Welcome to another excerpt from my workbook, Workplace Positivity.

Just like any good exercise program, once you set your mind to reducing negativity

in the workplace, finding someone to partner with will ensure your success.

The trusted confidante is your accountability partner. This is a person who values

honesty, even when it hurts. Identify this person in your workplace, then get on their

calendar for a quick conversation.

Your side of the conversation may go something like this:

“I’ve been thinking about what I’m thinking about lately and I realize it’s not all

good. I’m concerned my thoughts may overflow into my words, adding unneeded

negativity into our company. I’m wondering if you would be willing to help me

catch my words by letting me know when you notice me gossiping, complaining or

criticizing myself or others? I think if I’m more aware of what I’m saying, I’ll be able

to create a more positive environment for both myself and others.”

We don’t need to broadcast our desire to change to the entire world, just one


Check-in with your accountability partner once in a while and ask if they’ve

noticed any negativity in your last several interactions. Then ask them how often

they noticed you saying something positive, like praising a co-worker or reframing a

potentially sour experience with words that commit to your new mindset.

Now that you’ve got an accountability partner to help with your words, grab a

rubber band.


An accountability partner could have saved Thomas Modly his job and career. In

April, 2020, Modly was the Acting Secretary of the Navy. He fired an aircraft carrier’s

captain, then, unwisely, gave a speech to the sailors who had just been serving under that

captain. His speech ended his career. Modly told the gathered sailors that their former

captain had been, “too naive or too stupid to be the commanding officer of a ship like

this.” These comments led many in the Navy, in Washington and in the public to call for

Modly’s resignation. Modly had to apologize and take back his incendiary comments. He

ultimately resigned within days of his speech.

Had Modly had an accountability partner he could have run his speech past him or

her. That partner might have encouraged Modly to reflect on his emotions and eliminate

the negativity from his speech. Modly’s case is extreme. Don’t wait for a crisis to realize you need an accountability partner. Get one now and let them help you with your positivity.

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